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46 Blessed is that servant whom his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing. 47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
6 Shall make him ruler,' &c. This is a circumstance of the parable or story, designed to show the effect of faithfulness. Faithful servants of Christ shall be rewarded. This will be done by his approbation, and by the rewards of the heavenly world.
48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
'That evil servant. If that servant, so appointed, having this office, should be evil or wicked. Say in his heart.' Secretly suppose. Delayeth his coming.' Will not return in a long time; or does not return as soon as was expected, and perhaps may not at all.
49 And shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
"Smite his fellow-servants,' &c. This is designed to represent the conduct of ministers who should be unfaithful, overbearing, and abusing their trust in the church.
50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Shall cut him asunder.' This kind of punishment was anciently practised. Sometimes it was done by the sword, sometimes by saws. It was practised among the Chaldeans, Dan. ii. 5; iii. 29; among the Hebrews, 2 Sam. xii. 31. 1 Sam. xv. 33. Heb. xi. 37. It was also practised by the Egyptians and Romans. It here signifies, that the wicked servant shall be severely punished. Hypocrites.' See note, Matt. vi. 2. They are spoken of here as the worst of men. Weeping and gnashing of teeth.' See note, Matt. viii. 12, 13. The unfaithful and wicked minister of God, who lives without expectation or fear of judg ment, shall suffer the severest punishment inflicted on sinners in the world of woe.
1 THEN shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
"Then shall the kingdom of heaven.' The phrase here refers to his coming in the day of judgment. Shall be likened.' Or
shall resemble. The meaning is, it shall be, when the Son of man returns to judgment, as it was in the case of ten virgins in a marriage ceremony. The coming of Christ to receive his people to himself is often represented under the similitude of a marriage the church being represented as his spouse or bride. The marriage relation fitly represents the union of believers to Christ. See Matt. ix. 15. John iii. 29. Rev. xix. 7; xxi. 9. Eph. v. 2532. 'Ten virgins. These virgins, doubtless, represent the church-a name given to it because it is pure and holy. See 2 Cor. xi. 2. 'Which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. The lamps used on such occasions were rather torches or flambeaux. They were made by winding rags around pieces of iron or earthenware, sometimes hollowed so as to contain oil, and fastened to handles of wood. These torches were dipped in oil, and gave a strong light. Marriage ceremonies in the east were conducted with great pomp and solemnity. The ceremony of marriage was, performed commonly in the open air, on the banks of a stream. After the ceremony, succeeded a feast of seven days if the bride was a virgin, or three days if she was a widow. This feast was celebrated in her father's house. At the end of that time the bridegroom conducted the bride, with great pomp and splendour, to his own home. This was done in the evening or at night, Jer. vii. 34; xxv. 10; xxxiii. 11. Many persons attended them; and besides those who went with them from the house of the bride, there was another company that came out from the house of the bridegroom to meet them and welcome them. These were probably female friends and relatives of the bridegroom, who went out to welcome him and his new companion to their home. These are the virgins mentioned in this parable. Not knowing precisely the time when the procession would come, they probably went out early, and waited by the way till they should see indications of its approach.
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish, 3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
'And five of them were wise. The words wise and foolish, here, refer to their conduct in regard to the oil. The one part was wise in taking oil, the other foolish in neglecting it. The conduct of the wise refers to those who are prepared for the coming of Christ; prepared by possessing real piety, and not merely profession. The conduct of those without oil expresses the conduct of such as profess to love him, but are destitute of true grace, and are unprepared to meet him. In this parable the scope is to teach us to watch or be ready, ver. 13. It is not to teach us the number of those who shall be ready, and those who shall not. There is no authority for saying that our Lord meant to teach
that just half of professing christians would be hypocrites. 'Oil in their vessels. The five foolish virgins probably expected that the bridegroom would come immediately. They therefore provided for no delay, and no uncertainty. The wise virgins knew that the time of his coming was uncertain, and they therefore furnished themselves with oil. This was carried in vessels; so that it could be poured on the torch or flambeaux when it was necessary. 'Vessels.' Cups, cans, or any thing to hold oil.
5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
"The bridegroom tarried.' He delayed longer than they expected. All slumbered and slept.' Waiting till near midnight, they fell into repose. This circumstance is not to be pressed to prove that all christians will be asleep, or cold and careless, when the Lord Jesus will come. Many may be so; but many also will be looking for his coming. It is designed simply to show more clearly the duty of being ready, ver. 13.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh: go ye out to meet him.
'At midnight.' Later than was the usual custom, and hence they had fallen asleep. A cry made. Of those who were coming with the bridegroom.
7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
'Trimmed their lamps.' Burning till midnight, the oil was exhausted. They gave a dim and obscure light. This strikingly represents the conduct of most men at the approach of death. They then begin to make ready. They are alarmed, anxious, trembling, and asking the aid of others; and often when it is for ever too late.
8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage; and the door was shut.
'Went in with him to the marriage.' The marriage feast. The marriage ceremony took place before the bride left her father's house, but a feast was given at the house of her husband, and which was also called the marriage, or a part of the marriage solemnities. This part of the parable doubtless represents the
entrance of those who are ready, or prepared, into the kingdom of God, when the Son of man shall come. They will be ready who repent of their sins; who believe on the Lord Jesus; who live a holy life; and who wait for his coming. See Mark xvi. 16. John v. 24. Acts iii. 19. 2 Peter ii. 11, 12. 1 Tim. vi. 17-19. 2 Tim. iv. 6-8. The door was shut.' No more could be admitted to the marriage feast. So when the truly righteous shall all be received into heaven, it will be closed against all others. There will be no opportunity for preparation afterwards. Eccl. xi. 3; ix. 10. Matt. xxv. 46.
11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
'Open to us. This is not to be understood as implying that any will come after the righteous shall be admitted into the kingdom, and claim admission then. It is a part of the parable to illustrate the general truth inculcated, or to prepare the way for what is afterwards said, and keep up the narrative and make it consistent.
12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not,
'I know you not.' Applied to professing_christians, having only a profession, but no real piety, it means, I know, or acknowledge you not as christians. I do not approve of you, or delight in you, or admit you as my friends. The word "know' is often used in the sense of approving, loving, acknowledging as real friends and followers. See Matt. vii. 23. Psa. i. 6. 2 Tim. ii, 19. 1 Thess. v. 12.
13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
"Watch, therefore,' &c. This is the scope or design of the whole parable. Like the virgins, many are professedly going to meet the bridegroom-the Lord Jesus Christ. Like the coming of the bridegroom, his coming will be sudden. Many, even professing christians, will be engaged in the business of the world; thoughtless about eternity; not expecting his approach, and not prepared. They will only profess to know him, but in works they will deny him. Many, when they shall see him coming, at death or the judgment, will begin, like the foolish virgins, to be active, and to prepare to die. But it will be too late. They that are ready will enter in, and heaven will be closed for ever against all others. The coming of the Saviour is certain. The precise time when he will come is not certain. They who are christians should be ever watchful; and they who are not should lose no time to be ready; for in such an hour as they think not the Son of man shall come.
14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
'For the kingdom of heaven,' &c. The design of this parable is to teach that those who improve their talents or faculties in the cause of religion, who improve them to their own salvation, and in doing good to others, shall be proportionally rewarded. But those who neglect their talents, and neither secure their own salvation nor do good to others, will be punished. The kingdom of heaven is like such a man; that is, God deals with men in his government as such a man did. 'His own servants.' That is, such of them as he judged worthy such a trust. The going into a far country may represent the Lord Jesus going into heaven. He has given to all talents to improve, Eph. iv. 8-12. His goods. His property, representing the offices, abilities, and opportunities for doing good, which he has given to his professed followers.
15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
'Five talents. See Matt. xviii. 24. It here denotes the highest abilities given to men; perhaps the highest offices in the church, and the greatest opportunity of doing good. According to his several ability. According to the ability of each one. According as he saw each one was adapted to improve it. God gives men stations which ne judges them adapted to fill. So he makes distinctions among men in regard to abilities, and in the powers and opportunities of usefulness; requiring them only to occupy those stations, and discharge their duties in them, 1 Čor. iv. 7.
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
The two who had received most employed their money in trade, and by honest industry doubled it before their master returned, representing the conduct of those who make a good improvement of their abilities, and employ them in doing good.
18 But he that had received one, went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
'Digged in the earth,' &c. This represents the conduct of those who neglect the abilities that God has given, and fail to do what he has required. Their excuses are without foundation : for, God does not require us to do as much as those who have